blind-men-and-the-elephant 'This led to venues shopping and other forms of regulatory arbitrage, as well as blind-men-and-the-elephant problems where no regulator had a truly comprehensive view of an institution or the responsibility for monitoring it." I read this paragraph in a book written by an American. I found the interesting phrase" blind-men-and-the-elephant " which is quite consistent to a Chinese idiom 盲人摸象。The American writer learns some Chinese, so he may just translate the Chinese idiom into English. So, I want to know: Does the phrase "blind-men-and-the-elephant" exist in English? Thanks for your help. Have a good day!
Jul 31, 2014 2:22 AM
Answers · 2
It is fairly well known in English but it's a little "literary." Depending on the audience, it might be necessary to explain it. I guess it is a fable or story that exists in a number of languages, but in English it's almost always a reference to "The Blind Men and the Elephant." by John Godfrey Saxe. It begins: It was six men of Indostan To learning much inclined, Who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind), That each by observation Might satisfy his mind. The First approached the Elephant, And happening to fall Against his broad and sturdy side, At once began to bawl: "God bless me! but the Elephant Is very like a wall!" The Second, feeling of the tusk, Cried, "Ho, what have we here, So very round and smooth and sharp? To me 'tis mighty clear This wonder of an Elephant Is very like a spear!" The others touch different parts and declare that the elephant is like a snake, a tree, a fan, or a rope. Saxe concludes: And so these men of Indostan Disputed loud and long, Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff and strong, Though each was partly in the right, And all were in the wrong!
July 31, 2014
The story about the blind men and the elephant (each man touching a different part of the elephant and getting very different ideas about what an elephant is. See link below.) is well known in English. I'd call it a reference, since it's pointing you to the story, rather than a set idiom per se.
July 31, 2014
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